Message from the President

July 2018

It is with an enormous sense of humility, gratitude and pride that I have the privilege of serving as the President of our Temple and School community. This is a responsibility that I assume with a very full heart.  I look forward to the opportunity of working with our outstanding Clergy, professional staff, educators and our talented and committed lay leadership in order to help our wonderful Temple and Schools continue to flourish.

Rick and I joined Stephen Wise Temple 27 years ago with the intention of giving our children a stellar Jewish education. We never dreamed that the Temple would become our home, our special community, and a sanctuary where we have created so many lifelong friendships. This is a very special place, a caring and warm community committed to Jewish values, Tikkun Olam, lifelong learning and a love and support of Israel.

I invite you to become involved and active in our Schools and Temple so that, working together, we can build on our considerable strengths to help forge strong Jewish identities for our children and families, and to ensure the continuity of our Jewish values and traditions.

We are blessed with a talented and dedicated Board of Directors, and it is my privilege to work closely with all of them. We strive to further the vision and goals of our senior Rabbi, Yoshi Zweiback and Tami Weiser, our Head of School and together do the best we can, to build on the legacy established by our outstanding past leadership.  Rabbi Zeldin (z”l) and our founding members created our unique Temple and Schools and we have a shared responsibility to fulfill their mission.

We have exciting plans ahead that will strengthen engagement among our members through innovative community programs, as well as continuing our tradition of developing and implementing programs and initiatives (both Temple and Schools) that fulfill the needs of all our congregants at every stage of their lives.

My door is always open and I invite you to share your ideas and feedback at all times so that we can go from strength to strength.  “Chazak chazak v’nitzachek

My husband and I regularly attend our weekly Shabbat services and we invite you to join us and experience the welcoming embrace of our community.

Please feel free to email me at Jakolodny@wisela.org.

Warmly,

Janine Kolodny

2018-2019 Board of Directors:

Joyce Anderson

Nasi Bamshad

Susan Berger

Andrew Berman

Irene Boujo

Steve Bram

David Clark

Dana Ehrlich

Michelle Farhadi

Steven J. Fishman (Immediate Past President)

Alex Fixmer

Carin Freeman

Robert Glassman

Lori Goodman

Katya Harunzade

Daniel Heyman

Sally Jones

Ginny Kahn

Jodi Kirkbride

Janine Kolodny (President)

Philip Koosed

Corie Koss

AnnDee Levy

Shelly Levy

Farnaz Neman

Alex Neymark

Judith Niver

Dave Pasternak

Ira Pianko

Frank Ponder

Rabin Pournazarian

Heidi Praw

Golareh Ramin

Jeffrey Resnick

Jeremy Rosen

Jeff Sklar

Victor Svilik

Lori Tyberg

Michael Wachtell

Ariana West

Kevin West

Felice Williams

Past Presidents:

Pam Balton

Joseph Baron*

Mark Berns

Lynn Bider

Warren Breslow

Sheldon Cloobeck*

Rick Corleto

Sydney Dunitz*

Norman Eichberg*

Steven Fink

Steve Fogel

Mel Gagerman

Ken Gross

Robert Kadner*

Joseph Kleinman*

Paul Krentzman*

Eve Kurtin-Steinberg

Albert Praw

Ken Ruby

Herbert Samuels*

Mitch Shames*

David Smith

Glenn Sonnenberg

Leo Stone*

Les Surlow*

Ben Winters*

*Of Blessed Memory

Executive Committee

JANINE A. KOLODNY, PRESIDENT

I immigrated to Los Angeles in 1986 from Johannesburg, South Africa, where I’d grown up. My family was very active in the Jewish community and belonged to a Conservative Temple; I attended Jewish Day School, and later the University of Witwatersrand. In South Africa I had a successful career in advertising and marketing with Grey Advertising and Ogilvy & Mather, working on international packaged goods accounts. When I moved to LA, I joined Tracy Locke, a national advertising agency, as a VP Account Supervisor on the national Taco Bell account. I proudly became a US citizen in 1992. My husband Rick and I were committed to giving our kids, Michelle and David, a Jewish education and we joined Wise in 1990. Both children attended and loved their Wise School and Milken Community School experiences. Stephen Wise Temple is our home, and we are so grateful for the wonderful lifelong friendships we have all made as a result. Wise has supported our family through every phase of our lives, in a way that is very precious to us. Rick and I regularly attend our beautiful Shabbat services.

Since 1990, I have devoted my time and energy as a volunteer on numerous committees at our Schools and Temple, and the larger Jewish community of Los Angeles – including the Jewish Federation Woman’s department, Builders of Jewish Education, and Beit T’shuvah. I was appointed to the Temple Board of Directors in 1999 and to the Executive Board of the Temple in 2005. Over the years I’ve served as President of the Wise Early Childhood and Elementary Schools and have helped initiate and launch the School Mitzvah Committee, the Parent Docent Program, and the School Values Program. Another highlight was Co-Chairing the Health and Education Advisory committee. I also spent a year working in the Admissions Department at Milken.

My Temple Committee experience includes working on the formation of the 6:15pm Shabbat Service, the Patron & Sponsor program, Galas and The Living Torah Project; I am Co-Chair of the Strategic Development Plan, Shalom Garden, the Wise School Education Advisory Committee and the High Holy Day Task Force; I serve on the Senior Rabbi Transition committee; and I’m Vice President of Development overseeing the Annual and Capital campaigns and Generations Endowment program. I was a proud student of the Melton program for six years and am now enjoying Rabbi Yoshi’s weekly Talmud class.

My experience and contribution to the larger Jewish community includes previously serving for 5 years on the Executive board of the Builders of Jewish Education, and currently am a member of their Advisory Board. I’m also on the Executive Board of the Jewish Federation Woman’s department and have held a series of positions on various committees over the past 13 years. In 2014 I was the recipient of the Rita Reznikoff Leadership Award. Rick and I support AIPAC as Washington Club members.

JOYCE ANDERSON

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as an officer on the Board of Stephen Wise Temple during such an exciting time in its history. My own history with Wise began when I attended Wise School as a child. My husband Kevin and I were married by Rabbi Herscher. Our three children – Ian, Sarah and Darci – have all attended Wise School, starting with Mommy and Me. After becoming President of the Early Childhood Parent Board, I served as President of the Wise Parent Association and was closely involved for many years with the Mitzvah Network. As a Board member and Officer, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the Membership Committee, Financial Oversight Committee, Governance Committee, and the Communications and Catering task forces. In 1992 I founded The Center for Dance; I was the owner/director of this dance studio for children and young adults for 15 years in Sherman Oaks. In 2008, I joined my husband Kevin as a partner at Anderson Galleries Inc. in Beverly Hills, specializing in 19th Century, Impressionist, Modern and Post-Impressionist art. I currently sit on the Board of Directors of the UCLA Hillel. I am honored to be a part of the Stephen Wise Family.

STEVE BRAM

My family joined Stephen Wise Temple in 1967 just before the Temple moved from its Westwood site to its current location. I became a Bar Mitzvah and was confirmed at the Temple. My wife Julie and I have been married for 34 years and active members for the last 27 years.  Both our children Ben (now 30) and Alanna (now 27), became Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and were confirmed at Wise. I served on the Temple’s Budget and Finance Committee for 4 years, and Julie co-chaired the Wise Religious School’s Advisory Committee for over 5 years, working closely with Metuka Benjamin. Our family attended the weekly Shabbat Minyan with Rabbi Finley for over 5 years. We have hosted numerous Temple events at our home, including study sessions and Shabbat In The Neighborhood events. During the recession, I served on the Real Estate Advisory Counsel, helping Temple members with real estate and job-related issues. I’ve also been a guest speaker at the Wise Men’s Club.

MICHELLE FARHADI

My husband Ron and I joined Stephen Wise Temple 17 years ago. Our daughters Chloe and Celine are both proud Wise School graduates, and our son Evan is currently in sixth grade. Each of our children started at Wise in the Mommy and Me program. During my 17 years as a parent at Wise Schools I’ve played an active role in the Parent Association; I’ve served in many capacities, including Vice President and Recording Secretary of the Executive Board, and chair of a variety of school committees. I am a Southern California native, and attended UCLA and Southwestern Law School. I’m very proud to be serving our congregation as a member of the Executive Committee of the Temple’s Board of   Directors. In this role, I am the co-chair of the Academic Advisory Committee and a member of the Catering Committee. My family and I feel a great connection to our temple, and I hope to continue my service to this incredible community for many years to come.

STEVEN FISHMAN

I have lived in Los Angeles my entire life, and am a proud member of  UCLA’s class of ‘78. My wife Jodie and I have three children – all of whom live in Los Angeles – and six grandchildren. We’ve been members of the Wise community for the past 21 years, and most recently I’ve been fortunate to serve as the president of Stephen Wise Temple and Schools. I serve on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles; I’m an executive committee member of AIPAC in Los Angeles and an AIPAC National Council; and along with my wife Jodie, have been a member and co-chair of the Los Angeles Birthright Council for the past eight years. I’m a trustee of the Washington Institute and an active ELNET member. I’m on the finance committee at Hillcrest Country Club, and have recently been asked to be a board member of Wise Readers to Leaders. I am the managing partner of the Encino accounting firm of Fishman, Block + Diamond LLP, and have practiced for 40 years.

FARNAZ NEMAN

My husband Robert and I have been Wise members since 2003, and our children Sophia and Michael attended and graduated Wise School. I have chaired and organized events throughout that time, and during my first three years as a Temple Board member I co-chaired the Educational Advisory Committee with Rabbi Yoshi and was a member of the Development Committee. I co-chaired our high school graduation gathering for our elementary school graduates, and organized our college outreach efforts by sending Hannukah care packages to our Temple’s college students. As an Executive Committee member, I have been involved with the Temple membership and have served as an Ambassador. As always, we continue to support our Temple as a family, and I am honored to serve the congregation.

RABIN POURNAZARIAN  

My wife Lora and I have been Stephen Wise Temple members for ten wonderful years. Our three children – Rachel, Eli and Jonah – have graduated from Wise Elementary and are attending Milken Community School. I was raised in Encino, California; I obtained my undergraduate degree from USC and my law degree from Pepperdine. I spent my junior year abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1991. I was USC Hillel President and worked at Herzl Camp in Webster, Wisconsin for 3 years, concluding as the Co-Director of the 10th grade program. I’m currently a partner at Price Law Group, and specialize in debt relief and consumer advocacy. We have hosted Havdallah services along with Wise Dads, as well as Party Book Events at our house, to help cultivate this sense of community. Lora and I thoroughly enjoy the incredible sense of community that surrounds us.

JEFFREY RESNICK

My wife Linda and I have been members of Stephen Wise Temple for over 40 years. All four of our children attended the Elementary School through the 6th grade, and were confirmed after their B’nai Mitzvah. Linda was President of Wise Parent Association. I’ve served as a Board Member for the past nine years and on the Executive Committee for the past eight years. Previously I co-chaired the Center for Jewish Learning Committee, and chaired the Development Committee. I currently serve on the Financial Oversight Committee, Governance Committee, and Membership Committee. I am a former Board Member of Bet Tzedek and past President of UCLA Hillel. I’m active in the Real Estate Leadership of AIPAC, involved with various Jewish Federation activities and Aish Ha Torah. I look forward to continuing my involvement at Stephen Wise Temple and Schools.

JEREMY ROSEN

My wife Jodi, my son Ethan and I joined Wise in 2006. I have recently completed a three-year term on the Temple Board. I serve on the Board of Wise Readers to Leaders and have been an active member of the Temple’s Social Justice Committee. Outside of Wise, I am a partner at Horvitz & Levy LLP, where I specialize in handling civil appeals in state and federal appellate courts. I am also the Director of Pepperdine Law School’s Ninth Circuit Clinic, where I supervise law students in representing formerly pro se individuals on appeal in the Ninth Circuit. I graduated with a BA in history and government from Cornell University and received my J.D. and L.L.M. in International and Comparative Law from Duke University School of Law. I am now serving my second three-year term on the Board.

VICTOR SVILIK

My wife Mariya and I became members of Stephen Wise Temple in 2004 – the year we were married by Rabbi Stern, who also married my sister and her husband. Rabbi Stern has officiated at all of our lifecycle events (weddings, funerals and bris/simchat bat ceremonies). We have three children – Eliana (10), Jonathan (8), and Sarah (5).  Our two older children attend the Wise Religious School and Camp Wise, where Mariya is involved as an active parent.  Sarah will attend as well when she is old enough. Since joining the Board in 2013, I have served on the Membership Infrastructure Committee and am currently the Chair of the Financial Oversight Committee. I enjoy working with Board members, clergy, and staff, and I think Stephen Wise Temple is a wonderful institution that plays an important role in our community. I’m a member of AIPAC and support Jewish causes such as the Jewish Federation, Stand With Us, and Friends of the IDF.  I’m a commercial real estate developer and investor; my wife is a physician at UCLA. I have a B.A. from Stanford University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. I grew up and still live in Encino.

LORI TYBERG

My husband Leandro and I have been members of Stephen Wise Temple since 2002 and were married by Rabbi Herscher. Leandro attended our Elementary School and we have deep family roots in our temple and school. Our children, Francesca (Wise School graduate and recent Bat Mitzvah) and Roan (entering fifth grade), are blessed to have attended Wise School since Mommy and Me. I have had the honor of being involved in various committees of Wise School, and the privilege to serve on our Temple Board and Executive Committee. I’ve also been fortunate to have been involved with various temple committees, including heading our Wise Hearts program in partnership with Rabbi Stern and a group of hard working and dedicated volunteers. Wise is a second home for our family, and we cherish the deepening connections we have to our incredible community, Temple and School.

Board of Directors

NASI BAMSHAD

I am so honored to be part of the Stephen Wise family and to serve on the Temple Board. My husband and I began our journey at Wise almost thirteen years ago after the birth of our first child. Back then, we’d been longtime members, along with my family, at another Los Angeles temple. We chose Wise for the amazing parenting center and preschool. For several years we had dual membership, until we realized that Wise had become a home for our family. Our oldest son has now graduated from Wise Elementary and is currently a 7th grader at Brentwood School. Our daughter and younger son attend Wise School. I am a pediatric dentist practicing in Los Angeles and my husband is a urologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. I currently serve as an Executive Board Member on the Wise Parents Association Board, overseeing several committees including Wise Hearts, Sova, and Social Action; I’m also serving as an Ambassador for both the Temple and the School.

SUSAN BERGER

My husband Jon and I have been members of Stephen Wise Temple since we were children. We became B’nai Mitzvah, went to summer camp, and were confirmed and married at the Temple. Both of our daughters, Sami and Carly, attended the ECC and Elementary School. Sami, a graduate of Milken Community Schools and George Washington University, is currently living in New York and working as Showroom Coordinator at Alice & Olivia. Carly graduated from Harvard Westlake and is currently a Senior at the University of Michigan. I’ve been an active member of the WPA at the Elementary School, Milken and Harvard Westlake, routinely serving on the board of each of these schools in various capacities. My involvement at the Temple has included everything from chairing numerous Purim Carnivals to co-chairing several Temple Galas. As a Temple Board member, I’ve been active in new membership programs and have worked as an Ambassador dedicated to welcoming new members into our community. I am also dedicated to the Temple’s many Social Action programs, such as Wise Readers to Leaders, where I served on the Board for four years. I’m an active member of the Jewish Federation. My family is devoted to UCLA’s Operation Mend, proudly serving as a “buddy family” to military men and women who’ve been severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Berger family takes great pride in celebrating our life’s journey together at Stephen Wise Temple.

ANDREW BERMAN

My wife and I have been members of Stephen Wise Temple for close to 30 years, and it holds a very special place in our hearts. Wise has given so much to us in terms of education, spirituality, and pure joy. Both of our daughters went to Wise School and were Bat Mitzvah’d ‎there. One of my daughters is a proud graduate of Milken Community High School. I have been an executive in the entertainment industry for over 35 years, focusing on global content sales, marketing, acquisitions, and distribution. I’m also a licensed California Real Estate agent. I am a graduate of California State University at Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television and Film. I’m a past President of the Board of Trustees of the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America (Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter) and currently serve as a Board member with Connecting to Cure, Capital Campaign Committee of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. I serve as Chair of the main Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Jewish Home For The Aged.

IRENE BOUJO

My family and I have been associated with Stephen Wise Temple since 1985. My husband Yoni and I have two children, Eric and Joey, who have attended Stephen Wise Schools from Mommy and Me through Milken High School graduation. Over the years my involvement has been both on the school and temple levels both, serving on various boards, chairing committees and planning numerous events. My involvement with Wise has continued steadily for years since my children have graduated. I have also served on the Temple’s Board of Directors. My formal education resulted in degrees in both Biology and Nursing. I have worked in the medical, insurance, accounting and business management fields in the past. Currently, I work as an event coordinator.

DAVID D. CLARK

I’ve spent over thirty years in higher education at a variety of levels within numerous institutions – Iowa State University, Indiana State University, Grinnell College, Coe College, Pitzer College and UCLA. I have experience working in all the divisions of student affairs and, as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Pitzer College, I oversaw each of the student affairs divisions. I’ve taught classes on leadership development, writing, and social change. I’ve also presented over 600 admission presentations and lecture on a variety of topics, including issues of diversity and inclusion. My most recent position was as the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs within the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA, from which I retired from higher education to focus on volunteerism and philanthropy. As a volunteer, I’ve been very active in educational and Jewish settings. I’ve served on the Board of the Temple Beth Hillel Day School (Chair in 2005-06), the Dixie Canyon PTA (president in 2010-11), and the Valley Charter School Board of Directors. I currently sit of the Westmark School Board of Directors as Board Chair. All of my volunteer work and philanthropy revolves around education, children, Jewish causes, and diversity and inclusiveness. My husband Sam Elias and I joined Stephen Wise Temple seven years ago. We have two sons, Gabriel (17) and Alex (15), both who were Bar Mitzvah’d at Wise. I converted to Judaism 17 years ago, after the birth of our first son.

DANA EHRLICH

My family has been a member of Stephen Wise Temple since 2007. I was active in the Wise Parents Association, taking on a variety of roles, including VP of School Events, Corresponding Secretary and chair of numerous committees. I was a member of the Community Building Committee led by Rabbi Medwin in 2012-2013. I have attended Rabbi Yoshi’s Bible – now Talmud – class since its inception and had the pleasure of going on the 2014 Wise Israel Trip with my family. Since 2015 I’ve been part of the core team supporting the launch and growth of Wise School’s Generations Endowment and building a Wise School Alumni community. I was a member of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tikkun Olam Taskforce in 2017 and the High Holidays Taskforce in 2017-2018. Currently I attend Rosh Hodesh Minyan regularly and am starting my 6th year with Melton.

From 2014 to 2016 I served as the President of the Smith College Club of Los Angeles, leading a board that supports a community of approximately 1,500 local alumnae. I am the lead Smith Fund advocate for the Smith College Class of ’89, as well as for alums in the greater Los Angeles area. In November 2016 I was recognized by Smith College with The Smith Fund Award for Exemplary Leadership; in the same year I co-founded Seven Sisters Los Angeles. I have a background in advertising, marketing and customer strategy, yet have spent the last several years focused on alumni engagement and development. I have been happily married to my husband Scott for 24 years; my son, Josh, a Wise School graduate, is a 10th grader at Milken.

ALEXSONDRA “ALEX” SHORE FIXMER

I’ve been a member of Stephen Wise Temple my entire life. I was raised in a Wise home and attended Wise School since early childhood; thus, my commitment to our community has extended into adulthood. My husband and I were married by Rabbi Eli Herscher, and our two children attend Wise School through the Early Childhood program and Parenting Center. I currently donate my time to the Wise community through my involvement in the Parent Community Task Force and the Refugee Awareness Committee, and as a Room Parent at Wise School. I also volunteer year-round at Public Counsel, where I represent low-income families through the adoption process. Professionally, I am an attorney for The Walt Disney Company in the Direct-to-Consumer and International Group. At Disney, I oversee the team that drafts and negotiates global media and technology agreements for our Direct-to-Consumer platform as well as Disney Channels Worldwide, ABC Broadcast Network and Freeform. I value the opportunity to draw on my personal and professional experience to help support and advance our Temple community, which has been so near and dear to me and my family for more than three generations.

CARIN FREEMAN

I am dedicated to my service on the Stephen Wise Temple Board of Directors and to our Temple community. Currently, I am a co-chair of the Leaders of AIPAC @ Wise Committee and enjoy participating in our Melton Graduate adult education program.

My past Temple involvement includes serving as co-chair of the 2018 Wise Gala; on the Leadership Group for the Gates of Jerusalem Project; as Vice Chair of the Living Torah Project; as a member of the Patron and Sponsor Committee; and as co-chair of the Purim Carnival for many years. I am a past President of the Stephen Wise Elementary School Parent Association and have participated on numerous committees over the years. In addition, I served as a member of the Milken Community High School Board of Trustees for seven years and co-chaired Milken’s Annual Giving Campaign for four years.=

In addition to the Temple and its schools, I contribute my time to the greater Jewish community. I am a member of the AIPAC National Council, Past Chair of the AIPAC San Fernando Valley Executive Committee and chaired AIPAC’s Valley Annual Dinner for five years. I also serve on the Executive Board for the Jewish Federation Valley Alliance.

Glenn and I have been grateful members of our Temple for 36 years. Our three children – Lauren, Brian, and Joey – have had the privilege of attending our schools. Our grandsons Sam and Gabe are now students in our Parenting Center. I enjoy taking Gabe to our Grandma and Me parenting classes with friends I met at the Temple when our children attended the schools — l’dor v’dor, may every generation continue from strength to strength.

ROBERT GLASSMAN

I’ve been a member of Stephen Wise Temple for over a decade. I am an attorney with Panish Shea & Boyle in Los Angeles, and have held several leadership positions in the Los Angeles legal community, including President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers’ Young Lawyers Division. I’ve also been ranked as one of the “Up-and-Coming 100 Southern California Rising Stars.”  I’m an active participant in the Center for Social Justice and the ambassador program at Wise. I live in the Pacific Palisades with my wife Layla and our daughter Ella.

LORI GOODMAN

My husband Rob and I have been Stephen Wise Temple members for 41 years, when we joined after moving from Toronto. Our three children – Mitch (40), Jordie (37) and Dani (28) – attended the Parenting Center, were students at the Elementary School, had their Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s here and were confirmed at the Temple. I began my involvement on the Social Action Committee with Rabbi Jonathan Miller. I was the Temple representative for the Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan, designed to help reduce waste and pollution in Los Angeles. I have chaired events for Oakwood School and the Jewish Federation; been on the board of Women’s Conference and the Bureau of Jewish Education; worked on committees for Beit T’Shuvah and the Anti-Defamation League; and have been on the Board of my Neighborhood Association. Rob and I are, and always will be, proud Temple members.

KATYA HARUNZADE

My Husband, Tanel, and I have been Stephen Wise Temple members since 2006. Our daughter Kaila will be graduating Wise School this year, while our 2-year old son Leo is getting ready for preschool at Wise in the fall. I have always enjoyed giving back to our community by volunteering at Wise School and Temple events. I took part in the Israel Art Fundraiser, for which I brought artworks by 80 Israeli Artists to LA. I volunteered for the annual gala, designed the logo and invitations, and created intricate pieces of art with 35 classes from Transition to 6th Grade. With my interior and industrial design background, I have found myself focusing on design-related efforts where I can provide expertise and experience. I planned the Teacher’s Lounge for the faculty to have a peaceful space to relax and recharge. I was asked to refresh the Early Childhood Office, to create a child-friendly space for welcoming members and potential families.

DANIEL HEYMAN

My wife Stephanie and I are excited to recently have joined Stephen Wise Temple. We are both LA natives. Stephanie grew up at the Temple, starting in Early Childhood and graduating from Milken.  Always nearby myself, I attended Roscomare Road Elementary and later Harvard Westlake School. I am a Certified Public Accountant as well as a financial advisor and wealth manager in the Los Angeles area. Our two children, Ben and Max, are currently enrolled in the Wise School Early Childhood Center.

SALLY FORSTER JONES

I am a real estate broker and have been involved in various aspects of real estate sales, development and management. I’ve been a member of Wise for over 30 years, and four of my children have gone through the schools – all in the Elementary School and some in Early Childhood and High School as well. I have been a member of the Board for several years. I was co-chair of the Tribute Journal for two of the Galas, have been on the Development Committee, had been involved with the Patrons and Sponsors Committee for several years, and served on many other Temple committees.

VIRGINIA KAHN

My husband Arthur and I have been Temple members since 1980.  We have two children and five grandchildren. I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. I am a retired nurse; during my career, I worked as both a bedside nurse and in nursing management, specializing in burn care. My husband and I spend a great deal of time at Wise engaged in the study of Hebrew, Torah and Talmud. My Board activities include participating on the New Member committee, the Wise Hearts committee and Ambassador’s program; I also developed and facilitate the program where B’nai Mitzvah families are invited for Shabbat candle lighting. Outside of Wise, I am a healthcare volunteer for the Los Angeles County Surge unit, which is the disaster preparedness organization for our county. I am an amateur radio operator. I have trained and competed in American Kennel Club obedience, agility, tracking and hunting events with our dogs (currently 4).

JODI KIRKBRIDE

My husband Rick and I have been active Wise members for more than twenty-five years. Our two children attended Stephen Wise Elementary and Religious Schools. During this time, I served on both school executive boards (Elementary School and Milken) and chaired many events. I also participate on many committees as a Board member (such as Annual Campaign, New Members, Life Long Learning and Soulful Shabbat). Rick (a Temple Board member for seven years) and I have hosted Havdalah In Your Neighborhood and a meet-and-greet for Rabbi Yoshi. I currently serve on the Executive Board of the Women’s Department, Jewish Federation (Women’s Philanthropy) and support AIPAC and various other organizations throughout Los Angeles. I was a member of the University of Pennsylvania Parent Board for four years.

PHILIP KOOSED

Stephen Wise has been an incredibly significant part of my life and the lives of my entire family. My personal story with Stephen Wise began in Mommy And Me and continued all the way through 6th grade. I had my Bar Mitzvah at Wise with Rabbi Herscher and Cantor Lam and continued on through the Confirmation program. In 2000, I went on to USC to get a degree in Business (Corporate Finance).  My freshman year, I reconnected with an old friend from Stephen Wise named Brett Marz who was also attending USC. We decided to partner together and start a promotional product company called BAMKO. Wise was one of our first clients!  We built the business for the last 17 years, adding 11 offices on four continents. In that time, we sourced over 100 million promotional products and shipped to over 85 countries. In 2016, we sold BAMKO to a publicly traded company. Brett and I decided to stay with the business – to this day, our desks remain about 10 feet away from each other. At USC I also met my wife, Tamar. She came from a small Jewish community in the middle of the Amazon in Brazil. We dated for several years and have been married for the last eight. It was amazing to see how quickly she she was embraced by the Wise community. The two loves of our lives are our two boys, Asher and Itzhak (4 and 2 years old), and both are students at Wise. Additionally, my three nephews also attend as well. It gives me immense joy to drop the boys off at school in the morning and see some of the same faces I saw when I was a boy. The latest chapter of Wise making an incredible impact in our live came in 2016, when we started an organization called Save the Syrian Children. Tamar and I had done nothing for the first 5 years the Syrian Civil War raged on, but after listening to the mantra of “ever again” during Yom Kippur services, we decided to take action. We combined our professional backgrounds and decided to attempt to send a medical aid package into the hardest-hit, hardest-to-reach areas of Syria in order to save children. Rabbi Yoshi immediately offered to allow us to use his non-profit, Kavod, as our fiscal sponsor. Rabbi Stern helped with support through the Wise Social Action Committee. As a result, Save the Syrian Children became one of the primary charities for Mitzvah Day and Passover, and we were privileged be the first speakers at the Wise Years program in 2017. What started with the goal of one container ended up becoming over 40 full containers amounting to over $100 million in medical aid, food and clothing to Syria. Simply put, this would not have happened without Rabbi Yoshi, Rabbi Stern and Stephen Wise Temple. I am humbled to look back at 35 years of benefiting from being part of the Wise family.

CORIE KOSS

My 25 years as a member of Stephen Wise Temple have provided me with many fond memories along with a sense of pride. I feel blessed to be part of such a welcoming, always-evolving and well-rounded synagogue. In addition to my involvement here over the years, Ive also enjoy working with Designed From The Heart by providing safe housing for veterans and their families, and along with my husband Michael, continuing our involvement in the Jewish Federation, Birthright and American Friends of Hebrew University. In my spare time, I enjoy playing golf, traveling and  spending time with our three adult children and our four hilarious grandkids.

ANNDEE LEVY

My husband Jeff and I have been enjoying membership at Wise for thirty years. We have celebrated all life cycle events from baby namings to a funeral with our fine clergy and community. We actively participate in life-long learning. In addition to being part of Stephen Wise Temple, I enjoy the honor of being on the National Board of the Union for Reform Judaism. My passion as an advocate for Israel and social justice has led me to action with the Religious Action Center as a member of the Commission on Social Action, as well as with the Joint Action Committee.

SHELLY LEVY

I am married to my bashert, Don; I have a son and daughter and Don has 3 sons. We make a wonderful and fun blended family; his kids are mine, and mine are his. We also have four grandsons. I found my way to Wise when I moved to Encino and needed a day school that had transportation, as I traveled quite a bit for my job as Western Region Director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. In those days New York considered everything west of the Hudson River the Western Region, so I was on lots of airplanes. Wise was the only temple in the area that had a day school with transportation, and even though I was a Conservative Jew I had no choice – so my daughter was enrolled in the Day School. I was not a very happy camper, but because Rabbi Zeldin z’l was such a strong advocate for Israel, I thought I could make it work – and it certainly has.

ALEX NEYMARK

At the age of 5 my family emigrated from the USSR as part of the Jewish exodus of the late 1970s. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and graduated from UCLA. I spent my early career in software and technology but for the last 10+ years have been a partner in an Encino accounting practice. My wife Alison and I were fortunate to be married by Rabbi Yoshi before he joined the Wise family. Since then our family has grown and we have three children – Natalie (11), Leah (9) and Ryan (7).

JUDI NIVER

My husband Frank and I have been Wise members for forty years. Our daughters Lisa and Susan attended Wise School and Confirmation classes. As a result of our daughter’s desire to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah, Frank and I attended Cantor Nathan Lam’s classes and became B’nai Mitzvah. In addition to my work as a speech pathologist, I have participated on Temple committees including the Patron and Sponsor Committee; the Social Justice Committee’s Education subcommittee; the Mitzvah Committee; Koreh LA; Wise Hearts; Freedom School; and the Jubilee Celebration. In addition, I am the co-chair of the Soulful Shabbat Oneg Committee. Frank and I have benefitted greatly by attending many Lifelong Learning lectures and traveling with Wise clergy and members on trips to Israel, Jordan, Eastern Europe, and South America. We have been fortunate to have Rabbis Zeldin and Herscher along with Cantor Lam celebrate our daughters’ Bat Mitzvahs and marriages as well as both our grandsons’ Bar Mitzvahs. Membership in the Temple is an integral part of our lives.

DAVID PASTERNAK

Cindy and I have been Temple members for almost 30 years and all three of our sons had Bar Mitzvahs at Wise. I have been a Board member for four of the past five years with a one-year gap in 2012-2013. I have also assisted the Temple with various legal matters and try to be involved in Temple life as much as possible. I am an attorney with Pasternak, Pasternak & Alsbrook in Century City.

IRA PIANKO

After Robin, David, Brian and I moved to Los Angeles 30 years ago, we immediately became part of the Wise community, both of our sons graduated from the Wise School. Over the years Wise has been an important part of our family; Rabbi Herscher and Cantor Lam both officiated at David and Brian’s bar mitzvahs, Brian and Marissa’s wedding, and the baby namings of their children, as well as life cycle events. The love and support from the community when David passed was a source of strength for our family. Over the years I have been a partner with an international accounting firm as well as the Chief Operating and/or Chief Financial Officer at a music publisher, real estate firm and K-12 school. I have served on the Board of Trustees of the Oakwood School since 1991 and have been involved in a broad range of community-based organizations. Both Robin and I have continued our involvement at Wise and are both participating in the Florence Melton program as well as community learning opportunities.

FRANK PONDER

I joined Stephen Wise Temple about 40 years ago.  Rabbi Zeldin confirmed me in the last century. My daughter Danielle went to Wise Religious School, and her photo is on the Confirmation Wall. She is now the mother of two gorgeous daughters, one of whom just became a Bat Mitzvah. I dated Helen Randall for 18 years when Rabbi Herscher suggested that it was “Chai time” we got married… so we did. In the process I got two more grown daughters. I’ve chaired the Purim and the Membership Committees at Wise, and am currently a board member the URJ Camp Newman; URJ 6-Points Sports and Sci-Tech West camps; Hillel at UCLA; and Westside JCC. I also co-chair the Diller Youth Engagement program and serve on HUC’s Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management committee as well as the PK-12 Committee at the Jewish Federation. My passion is youth engagement after B’nai Mitzvah and I try to get as many teens as possible to Jewish camps. I love attending Melton school and beginning my 7th year.  Professionally I was in the retail business for 30+ years and am now a property manager.  My wife owns Art One Gallery in Beverly Hills.

HEIDI PRAW

My family has been members of Stephen Wise Temple for over 40 years. My four children (now adults, married and parents in their own right) attended Mommy and Me classes, Early Childhood, and the Elementary School through the 6th Grade. We have continued our active involvement with Wise over the years. My husband Albert  served as Temple President from 2005 through 2007 My involvement has included membership in the Temple Pre-School Board, the Temple Elementary School Board, the Patron and Sponsor Committees, the Gala Committee, and the Middle School Board, where I served as President. My other civic and philanthropic activities include membership in the Board of Directors of Beit T’Shuvah as well as its Prevention Committee and Development Committee; membership in the Board of The Associates of the Los Angeles Jewish Home; and membership in the Scholarship Committee for Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles for the past 10 years. I’ve also served as Gala Chair for Beit T’Shuvah’s annual fund raiser for many years. I have also continued my Jewish education by completing my 6th year of study at the Florence Melton School at Stephen Wise Temple. Wise has played an integral role in our family.  As a place of worship and learning, Wise has enriched our lives and those of our children. As a community center, Wise has been a place where we have fostered friendships that go back to when our children were students at the Elementary School.

GOLAREH RAMIN

Stephen Wise Temple holds a special place in our hearts, as my husband Soroush and I were married by Rabbi Stern in 2005. Since then, we’ve been active temple members, and are deeply connected to Wise School.  Our three children – Alex (9), Gabriel (7) and Remi (4) – have attended Wise School since Mommy and Me and are currently enrolled in the elementary school and preschool. I graduated from UCLA as a Communications major, and earned a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. I practiced in the field of civil litigation for 10 years. My husband is a physician in private practice, and I currently manage his offices. At Wise School, I have been the co-chair of the Wise Ambassadors for the past three years, a member of the Education Advisory Board for the past four years, and a member of the Wise Hearts Caring Community for the past five years.  This year, I was a member of the Annual Giving Campaign. This is my third year as a student in the wonderful Melton Program, and I have been on the Melton Advisory Board for three years.  Recently, I have enjoyed collaborating with Joyce Anderson and Farnaz Neman in establishing a protocol in welcoming new Temple Members that are Elementary School parents.

JEFF SKLAR

I am a founding partner of Sklar Kirsh LLP and Chair of the firm’s Corporate Practice. I began my career as a corporate lawyer with Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan LLP, where I practiced from 2001 to 2003. I then joined Loeb & Loeb LLP’s Corporate Department, where I practiced from 2003 until 2010 – when I opened Sklar Law, P.C. In 2013, Andrew Kirsh and I founded Sklar Kirsh LLP as a premier corporate, real estate, litigation and entertainment law firm.  Born and raised in Michigan, I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Michigan State University in 1994. I attended Loyola Law School of Los Angeles and received my Juris Doctor in 2001, when I graduated cum laude as a member of the Order of the Coif and as a member of the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society. I am also active in the Los Angeles community and serve on the Board of Directors of de Toledo High School, Friends Of The Israeli Defense Forces, Western Region, and Stephen Wise Temple. I’ve been a member of Wise since 2000.

MICHAEL WACHTELL

My family has been affiliated with Stephen Wise Temple since our two daughters started in the inaugural class of the Elementary School over 30 years ago. During that time, we were actively involved throughout their confirmations as teenagers. Wise has been our primary home for the entire range of life cycle events involving our family for over 35 years. I currently serve on the Temple Board and have been very active in assisting Wise on several significant legal matters as a member of the Legal Committee as well as serving on the Governance and Nominating Committees. My late wife Marsha and significant other Linda Silver, whose two daughters also are Wise School alumni, were and are both active at Wise as well as in community activities and Jewish organizations and charities. Linda and I can often be seen at Wise events, and especially Soulful Shabbat services whenever we are available. In addition to independent business interests, I have practiced law in California for over 40 years and am currently a shareholder in the law firm of Buchalter Nemer, where I specialize in business and commercial law. In addition to being privileged to serve on the Temple Board, I am also a Board member of Bet Tzedek, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Senior Lawyers Division of the LA County Bar. In addition, I am an active supporter of AIPAC, Jewish Federation, Hadassah and a member of various other professional organizations including Chancery Club.

FELICE WILLIAMS

Stephen Wise Temple has been an integral part of my adult life, where we have celebrated most of the important life cycle events of my and my family’s Jewish life thus far: Our wedding, baby namings, bat mitzvahs (mine and each of my daughters’), confirmations, Havurot group participation, and the 2016 wedding of one of our three daughters and soon-to-be wedding of our youngest daughter in 2019 by the wonderful Stephen Wise Temple clergy. We recently welcomed our first grandchild, Luca Younesi, into the Wise community and were honored to have Rabbi Eli Herscher give him his Hebrew name at his Brit Milah service. Currently, I co-chair the Ambassador Program for the Temple Board, am an active member in the Melton Graduate Adult Education Program, and served as a Melton Advisory Board member. I am an avid supporter of many of the services, programs, and events that Wise offers and am devoting more time and energy in a leadership capacity to support our community’s goals and to ensure a vibrant and meaningful future for Stephen Wise Temple. Outside of the Temple, I have volunteered as a Crisis Line Counselor for Jewish Family Service’s Family Violence Project for the past seven years, and my husband, Doug, and I are active supporters of Jewish National Fund, AIPAC, the BJE, and the Museum of Tolerance.